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Archive for April, 2010

Apparently it’s Incredible Ingredient Wednesday!  Who knew?  The box of veggies from spud! arrived yesterday, and tonight for dinner The Child and I had Black Knight Carrots grown by Tutti Frutti Farms in Northern Santa Barbara County.  They were dark and dirty and merely different until I went to peel them, at which point they became jaw-droppingly beautiful.  The Child heard me *gasp* and came running to see these glorious things!!

So I just had to photograph them.

Then I came back in the kitchen to chop ‘em up for dinner.  And *gasp* squared!!  I soon had a pile of sliced, purple, polka-dot carrots.  Sheer awesome!

They taste pretty much like a regular carrot raw, but I wanted to see how they cooked up.  Typically I roast my carrots in the oven, but tonight I wanted to take advantage of the color.  So I rough chopped some onion and sauteed both with olive oil, Penzeys Garlic Salt, and fresh ground pepper.  Then I added a cup or so of homemade stock and slapped a cover on while it simmered away at medium heat for a bit.  When the carrots were nearly cooked, I took the cover off and let the sauce reduce down while I nuked some leftover water buffalo chuck roast from the weekend.  Voila!  Dinner is served in 20 minutes tops.  Ha!  And I was worried we would starve with The Spouse out of town.

Black Knight Carrots and Onions with leftover water buffalo chuck roast

The carrots typically found at most markets are orange, but they also come in red, yellow, white, and as I found out today…  purple.  And it turns out that this tasty taproot probably originated as red, yellow or purple wild varieties in Afghanistan, before the Dutch developed the first recorded orange carrot in the 17th Century.  We don’t have room for anything but container gardening at our condo, but if you are looking to add a little purple pizzazz to your garden this summer, why not get some Purple Dragons from Seeds of Change and report back on how easy or difficult they are to grow.

Every different color on the plate is a different package of micronutrients.  Sometimes, kids are more interested in sampling a familiar food in a different format.  The kid eats peas, so try crunching some sugar snap peas.  They like carrots, so here is a purple one.  You like purple food?  Maybe you’ll dig beets next week.  Advocating variety is easy to preach, but some families might need baby steps first.  There are families out there struggling with a limited number of ingredients which sidestep drama, especially veggies.  And carrots are often on the shortlist.

Obviously this recipe works for any variety of carrot, including the humble orange one at the grocery store.  But if you stumble across specimens at the farmer’s market or specialty market, it is worth taking the risk.  This was the best $3.27 I have spent in a long time, and The Child loved it.  Thank you spud!.  I just hope I’ll be able to order them again next week.

When you get carrots home, remove the tops to preserve their flavor longer.  I remember reading that carrot greens are inedible but cannot remember where, and when Kevin Gillespie prepared a well received dish using them on Top Chef it made me wonder.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one, and there is an excellent post about the various thoughts on the matter of carrot tops over at The Upstart Kitchen.

Sauteed Black Knight Carrots and Onions

One small bunch of Black Knight carrots, sliced into rounds
One large onion, rough chopped
Olive oil
Penzeys Garlic Salt
Fresh ground pepper
~1 cup homemade stock, wine, or water

Saute carrot slices and onion in olive oil.  Season with Penzeys Garlic Salt and pepper, or your personal spices of choice.  Once the onion has started to brown a bit, add about a cup of homemade stock.  Cover and simmer on medium heat.  When the carrots were nearly cooked (not quite fork tender), uncover reduce any remaining liquid until it gets syrupy.  Serve warm.

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Thanksgiving is a big deal for our family.  Celebrating is typically a three day affair, and the day after is officially French Onion Soup Day.  The carcass goes directly into a stockpot and bubbles away overnight while late night game-playing stretches into the wee hours of the morning.  Last November,  we roasted an extra dozen drumsticks in the oven in addition to the bird out on the grill.  Additional bones would just get added to the bubbling cauldron as guests steadily raided the fridge and consumed leftovers.  A visiting friend remarked, “Some people compost…  you make stock.”  Nothing goes to waste in this house.

Recently The Spouse went back to working some longer hours.  For a month or two, we shall revert to the old days of increased travel for him, and increased single parenting for me.  Back injury be damned, I am going to have to scrape together a meal or two and get in the habit of cooking again, so I practiced a little last week.

The Spouse had roasted a guineafowl earlier in the week, and as is our custom, filled up the stockpot with the carcass, fading veggies to help clear out the fridge, some peppercorns, and a bay leaf or two.  Whether you start with leftover bones, or some cheap cuts from the butcher, the basic technique is the same:  start with cold water, bring it up to a simmer slowly, and skim the scum off the top as it reaches a gentle boil.  Let it bubble away for a few hours, cool, strain, and transfer to the freezer or fridge.  A spare plastic container in the fridge can collect bits from the kitchen throughout the week to save for stock, and a weekend day serves as an excellent time to make a big batch.  In the fridge, all the fat will collect in a solidified layer on top which may be easily removed or used as you prefer.  You’ll know you got it right when it comes out of the fridge set up like gelatin.  If it’s still a liquid, don’t fret, you have likely made a very flavorful broth.  But for stock to be stock, it needs the connective tissue that only bones can provide.

The first night dinner was my responsibility, I actually planned ahead.  With seemingly nothing in the fridge for lunch I boiled half a package of farro, established we had at least one carrot which would not be rubbery by dinner time, checked the volume of meat The Spouse had picked from the carcass was sufficient for three bowls of soup, and confirmed we had a bag of frozen peas.  While I had a scoop of farro with microwaved marinara for lunch, I knew soup for dinner was all set to assemble.

I remember big giant pots of soup as a kid.  Often my dad would freeze a bunch to thaw for quick supper on a cold day, but sometimes we would be having soup all week.  It was great the first two nights, but by the end of the week we were all poking around the fridge seeking alternative leftovers.  I think that’s why to this day I prefer drop dumplings to noodles in my chicken soup (the noodles are all mushy by the end of the week), and why I have never been compelled to make split pea soup at home, even though my Grandma’s recipe is fabulous.  Instead of freezing soup or eating leftover soup all week, we are more likely to freeze the stock if need be and only prepare small batches of soup at a time.

My first night re-entering the Mom’s-responsible-for-dinner world, I failed and overdid it during the day.  But at least I could greet The Spouse with a game plan when he walked in the door to no dinner and a wife laying on the couch.  So a chopped carrot was sauteed with some onion in a medium saucepan.  Stock was poured in on top of the veg.  When brought to a simmer, some frozen peas were added, the burner switched off, and The Child called to dinner within a few minutes of starting.  Leftover ginueafowl and cooked farro were portioned into individual bowls and the hot broth and vegetables were poured over top.  Served with some fresh sliced garlic bread to dip and Parmesan grated over top, it was a perfect spring meal.  Obviously this works for the more typical roasted chicken as well, but the key is to not boil the already roasted bits of bird all over again.  No one likes stringy bits of tough or flavorless meat floating around in their soup – no matter how flavorful the broth.

The next night I was flying without a net, as he was out of town and not just working late.  To be honest, I considered having the same sort of soup again, but winced knowing The Child would whine at repetition just like I used to.  I considered using up the last of my sweet potatoes for soup too, but it seemed too warm and springy outside for such a hearty main course.  So instead I went pseudo-Asian.  The bag of frozen wontons from Trader Joe’s said, “Boil your favorite vegetable or chicken broth, add FROZEN wontons to soup for the last 1 -2 minutes.”  Really?  I can do that!

“Hey kid!  Do you want frozen peas or frozen edamame in your soup tonight?”  Giving a kid a say in what is for dinner does not have to mean sacrificing variety for the sake of a box of mac ‘n’ cheese.  Back with she was little, this question might have gotten a negative response to both options.  “It’s very simple.  You pick, or I will pick for you.”  The Child would never abdicate the ability to have a say, and it was then more likely she would try it with less protest.

We often use canning jars in lieu of plastic containers in the refrigerator, running the lids and rings through the dishwasher until the lids look like they need replacing. A simple funnel helps pour the goods into the jars.

Easy Wonton Soup

In the time it took me to heat a jar of our homemade stock on the stove, the ginger was grated and the scallions chopped.  A smidge of miso and a splash each of soy sauce and mirin were added to each individual bowl.

When the stock came to a boil, I added wontons, set the timer for 2 minutes, and scarfed a titch of boiling stock to dissolve the miso paste in each bowl.  Dividing the ginger, scallions, and a handful of frozen Trader Joe’s Soycutash directly from the bag, each bowl was then topped off with boiling stock and wontons.

Dinner was great!  And I’m happy to report that it was exactly 15 minutes from opening the freezer and finding the wontons to sitting down to dinner – – including the time it took me to take a few photos.

While The Child scarfed dinner and posed for a photo I asked her for the first time why she thinks she eats so well.  She paused, wonton poised in her chopsticks over her bowl, and said, “Cuz you guys make me try stuff and cuz Daddy cooks so well.”

“Hey, isn’t this soup good?  I made this!”

She shrugged, “Yeah, it’s awesome.  But it’s because Daddy roasted such a tasty bird.”

She’s got me there.

Invest in making your own stock.  It will pull together even store-bought ingredients into something quick and tasty.  Make small batches or individual bowls of soup to avoid repetition with your kids.  And then ask them targeted questions about what choose to have in it.  With any luck they may even even try it.

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We received a subscription to Cooking Light as a wedding present.  That was, um…  nearly nine years ago.  (Yes, that’s right.  There are women who forget these things too.)  It was regular monthly reading for quite a while, but somewhere along the way they lost my interest.  I think as I learned more about cooking, nutrition, and food science I saw their premise of substituting ingredients with more diet-like ones either misinformed or misleading.  Foundational ingredients often were vilified and replaced with imposters.  Cooking at our house became more about variety, controlling portion size, and total calorie count.  As we reverted back to basic ingredients, our Cooking Light subscription became increasingly less relevant.  Most months I would flip through it, find a smattering of nifty ideas, and question why I had renewed yet again.

Hopefully the April issue has heralded a change.  I picked it up over the weekend and read it cover to cover.  It was full of content mirroring our approach to food:  Eat everything and anything in moderation, with an array of ingredients and portion being the measure of how healthy a meal is.  It was remarkable to find the magazine now has a refreshingly new outlook:  healthy frying encouraged, meat and eggs and dairy no longer condemned, and using fats and proteins to make vegetables more satisfying.

The cover story debunking Nutrition Myths (p.134) was refreshingly full of real information rather than pandering to what editors think dieting readers expect to see.  A little real sugar can go a long way in the kitchen.  Consuming eggs will not increase your blood cholesterol.  Some saturated fats are actually good for us.  Moderate intake of any type of alcohol (1-2 drinks per day) reduces the risk of heart disease, as those benefits are no longer limited to red wine.  Stop wasting money on fiber-fortified foods, and leave the skin on your chicken while you are at it because it is actually good for you.  Enjoy frying food at home, since with the right method it isn’t all that fattening.  The list goes on…

The piece on Rethinking Protein (p.52) refutes the misconception that protein should ideally be from particular sources.  It rejects that by defining some proteins as good the others by default are designated as bad.  There is an unique nutrition profile attached to each protein source, be it plant or animal.  The article suggests selecting appropriate portions from a larger pool of protein choices, including those which have become healthy-diet taboo.  In our house we have the conventional beef, pork and chicken.  But we also eat lamb, pasture-raised veal, fish, turkey, rabbit, duck, goose, goat, and lots of eggs.  Since joining a meat CSA (community supported agriculture) in January, we’ve tried water buffalo, guineafowl, and duck eggs.  We sprinkle nuts on yogurt and cereal, mix beans or edamame into pasta salad, add tofu to Adulterated Ramen, and drink lots and lots of milk.  It’s certainly not boring.  According to Cooking Light we humans need 0.45 grams of protein per pound of body weight, and it doesn’t take much to hit that target.  Which means most of us can stop worrying and supplementing because we are getting enough.

Roast guineafowl and pork sausage stuffing

Reading this gave me hope that the protein bar craze will soon go the way of the bottled-water-is-better-for-you dodo.  And with any luck all the snake-oil protein powder and shakes out there too.  Desperate parents are spending a lot of money offering this stuff to kids out of fear and concern rather than knowledge.  “As long as you’re eating a variety of protein-filled foods throughout the day, your body will get all the amino-acids it needs to run at full capacity.”  The article provides information on sources, amounts, and suggestions which should reassure picky eaters, vegetarians, and meat lovers alike.  If you are still concerned, check with your pediatrician and trust their guidance.

Obviously some people are going to have specific dietary restrictions from their doctors, but for the vast majority of us, portion size and variety ought be the focus of our cooking and eating decisions.  Rethinking all the limitations we have been taught to place around ‘healthy eating’ opens up a wide range of ingredients to keep fit while eating for taste and satisfaction too.  The article served as a reminder for our family to work more fish and seafood into our repertoire.  We used to go out for sushi quite regularly, but lifestyle changes have limited that, and we were not compensating by buying more fish to eat at home.  So my personal takeaway has been added emphasis reintroducing a diversity of fish and seafood back into our diets.

Much of the content in Cooking Light is available for a limited time on their website – but I hesitate to direct anyone there as it is poorly designed and a pain to slog through their format.  So go pick up a copy of the April 2010 issue before it is gone from newsstands.  This magazine doesn’t take itself too seriously (there is a regular Beauty segment for Pete’s sake!), but every recipe includes detailed nutritional information, and often includes suggestions on gluten-free adaptations.  Even for a serious foodie who knows much of this content already, I venture to say everyone will be inspired by some aspect of this issue.  The subscription was an excellent wedding gift, and much like The Spouse as it turns out, worth sticking with for a while yet.

What follows is a basic recipe for guineafowl out of a classic book on English cooking.  I’ve transcribed it here because it’s just so nifty to read.  Our preparation left out the port, watercress, parsley, and garlic.  And instead of the few breadcrumbs used a whole lot of torn up leftover Garlic Bread from the Grace Baking Co.  We have a standing order on fresh bread from spud! and were behind on our bread consumption.  We adapted for a single bird without giblets and used fresh pork sausage from our CSA.  The overflow stuffing was baked in a casserole dish alongside the bird but was finished cooking well before the bird was done, so keep an eye on it.

Roast Guineafowl
From Jane Grigson’s English Food

2 fine guineafowl, 750g-1kilo (1½ -2 lb) each
6 rashers unsmoked streaky bacon, or 6 strips of pork back fat
Seasoned flour
1 glass port
300 ml (½ pt) stock made from the giblets, or from chicken giblets
1 bunch watercress

Stuffing
125 g (4 oz) good sausages
1 heaped tablespoon breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon brandy
1 tablespoon port
1 heaped tablespoon chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt, pepper to taste

First make the stuffing.  Remove the skins from the sausages and discard them (it is important to use a high-quality, meaty sausage, for instance genuine Cumberland sausages).  Mix with the remaining stuffing ingredients and divide between the two birds – if the birds are sold complete with their livers, chop them up and add them to the mixture, but be sure to remove any bitter greenish parts first.

Put the bacon or pork fat across the breasts of the birds – or, better still, lard them with fat strips of pork and protect them with butter papers.  Place them on the rack of a roasting pan and put them into a hot oven, at mark 7, 220°C (425°F).  After 15 minutes, lower the heat to mark 6, 200°C (400°F), and leave them for 30 minutes.  Take the guineafowl from the oven, remove the bacon or paper and sprinkle them with seasoned flour.  Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until cooked and browned.  Place the birds on a serving dish and keep them warm.  Pour the port into the roasting pan juices, boil them up for a couple of minutes, scraping in all the nice brown bits that have stuck to the pan.  Add the stock and boil down until you have a small amount of strongly flavoured gravy.  Pour round the birds, and garnish the dish with watercress.

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I have to sing the praises of the Baby Björn Safe Step.  It should be on the registry list for every expecting mom.  There is a long list of reasons why seven years later I now own, hmmm…  count ‘em, FOUR of these step stools.  Mind you I did not purchase all four at once, but they are so versatile for our family that it is still a functioning item around the house.  Just today I used one to put groceries away in the pantry and save my blown-out back from the strain of reaching high shelves.  But I am getting ahead of myself.


Baby Björn Step Stool Progression of Usefulness

When I was pregnant, I was obsessed with ensuring successful breastfeeding.  While I still think nursing was the right choice for us, after watching intelligent women I care about driven to drastic measures and worked into a frenzy over what to do when it doesn’t work, I question how much of an advantage nursing is when compared to a devastated mom.  The process of bringing an infant home is already fraught with so much stress and sleep-deprivation, do we really need to string parents out more and assign blame when it simply isn’t working?  But that’s another post.

I read somewhere that having a step stool to prop up feet while nursing would help, and it really did.  Independent from the foot-rest that came with our nursing chair, I used the step stool a lot.  It provided a variation of positions, and when I got tired of walking The Child to sleep I could sit down with my toes upon the step and gently bounce the swaddled bundle to sleep on my knees.  I justified the purchase at the time with the knowledge that toddlers need a step in the bathroom at some point, so worst case I was just planning way ahead.

The Child at 16 months showing off the bottom grippy bits of the Safe Step.

For bathroom use, it is awesome.  The rubber strip in contact with the floor on the Baby Björn Safe Step ensures it stays put, and the tread provides traction regardless of bare feet, socks, spilled water, or the inevitable jostling with other kids.  Toddlers are wobbly on their own feet.  Climbing onto some cutesy, personalized, slippery wooden step stool seemed precarious at best.

It is small enough to tuck away easily when sharing a bathroom with grown-ups, and the plastic is very sanitary and easy to clean.  When combined with the Baby Björn Toilet Trainer, it meant there was no need for one of those little messy portable potty things.  The Child was adamant that if she was going to abandon what seemed like perfectly viable diaper technology, that she was going to only use the grown-up toilet.  One of these step stools in each bathroom made it easier to clamber up there safely.  Even now that toilet training is a distant memory, her smaller friends use the step to reach the faucet when washing up.

At a titch over a pound, it is light enough for small children to move it around as needed.  And while ours are all white, they now come in a variety of colors.

As toddler years progressed into big kid years, this step stool works well to help her stand at the kitchen counter and help cook.  It gives her more leverage when taking on chores requiring she reach the bottom of the kitchen sink, like washing veggies.  And at seven years old, she uses it to reach things in her bathroom medicine cabinet like nail clippers and lip balm.

The Child peeled some eggs over the sink and then made some egg salad for lunch.

Very early in this progression, we discovered an unexpected use.  The Dog loved it!  A medium-sized pooch, he first used it to peek into the bassinet to check on the coo-head.  But oh the possibilities!!  With only one window facing the street side of our condo, he could now look out the window comfortably to keep an eye on the neighborhood without putting his feet on the windowsill.  Clearly I had to invest in one just for him.

Admittedly, now that The Child is seven years old, I no longer have the need for so many.  But they do nest very well (in a stack at The Dog’s favorite window in fact), and kids use them to sit around the coffee table and play.

And now I find myself using it to reach pantry ingredients!  It handles my adult weight just fine, and it is light weight enough for me to fetch from the living room when I need it.  The more substantial step ladder we own is fabulous, but it is down a flight a stairs and heavier than my injured spine will allow right now.

Inevitably everything has some drawbacks.  It is only six inches tall, so be mindful of how much of a boost your kid is going to need for a given task.  The Child has always been tall for her age, and we have not yet updated the bathrooms to ADA compliant height toilets, so perhaps it is not enough of a step up for some.  There are a few complaints on Amazon about it being tippy;  however, in the seven years of use here we have never had a kid, ours or any other, fall off the thing.

Overall it has been a fabulous purchase for The Child, The Dog, and for us.  I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a little step up.

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While I have been stuck on the floor with my decrepit spine, The Spouse and The Child decided to experiment with making tortillas the last few months.  It has been a glorious surprise.

Not to say I lack faith in their abilities, for years the two of them have bravely attempted just about any kind of dough.  Typically with me oscillating between concern over the mess and utter gratitude at the break from parenting on my part.  It was his go-to activity when she was wee.  His solution for the seemingly never-ending question of how to entertain a toddler was to grocery shop and to cook.  On Saturday mornings when he was not traveling, he would scoop her up, head off to a zillion different errands, and come home to prepare food with the kid.  She would get plunked in her Easy Diner at the counter and watch him prep veggies, roast meats, and make stock.  And when just watching and nibbling was insufficient entertainment, they would make chocolate-chip cookies.  When they mastered that, they moved onto scones.  Biscuits.  Homemade pasta.  Fresh bread.  And now, tortillas.

The surprise however was that the tortillas worked far better than any of us expected, and on the first try too.  Given my preference for flour tortillas, when I saw the masa dough I was expecting a grainy and tasteless platform for fillings.  These had a smooth texture but with a firm bite.  They were salted just right, and I would have put money on their being some AP wheat flour and lard in there.  But nope.  Just masa harina and water, and no fat of any kind.  Wow.

The software:

My typical first question when sitting down to any new meal in the repertoire is, “Is this Alton’s recipe?”  We watch a lot of Good Eats, and AB has dedicated a generous amount of time to tortillas, tortilla chips, and what to do with a freezer full of leftover tortillas.  But no, my family informed me this was the recipe right off the side of the bag.

The hardware:

We did not have a tortilla press in our arsenal, but we did have a nearly 7-year old who is handy with a rolling pin.  Once the dough was prepped, The Spouse portioned out some dough and they set to work.

The process:

As I sit here writing this, I am parked in The Child’s room.  She is home from school with a mild cold and sometimes being the sentinel keeping her in bed is the easiest way to get a handle on the cold and avoid secondary infections.  This kid may eat well, but as I have mentioned before, sleeping without a stubborn fight has never been her thing.  Napping is apparently for losers.  And self-imposed rest is rare.  I said she eats.  I didn’t say she was easy!

The recipe she makes with her dad is right on the bag of Maseca masa harina.  But that seemed far away…  all the way downstairs…  so in a fit of laziness, I asked if she remembered off hand how to make tortillas.  She sat up straight in bed, cleared her throat with a snarfle, and said with authority, “Eh hem.  Step One!”  What follows is straight dictation:

Step 1

Get masa dough, big bowl, and the water.

Step 2

Mix the masa dough and the water together using a wooden spoon or your hands.

Step 3

Break masa dough into the size of a fist.  A little kid’s fist.  “Like a 7-year old’s.”

Step 4

Get two sheets of plastic wrap and put the dough ball between them.  WARNING! [This was declared with a gesture akin to stopping traffic.]  Do not push plastic wrap over ball!  Lay it loose on top, and using the bottom of your palm, just kinda push it out.  If you want to use a rolling pin you may, but start with the bottom of your palm.  It is done when it is about the size of a small plate.

Step 5

Take off the top sheet of plastic wrap and put your hand underneath the bottom piece of plastic wrap.  Flip over onto a grown-up hand, and remove the other piece of plastic.

Step 6

Flip onto griddle

Step 7

Take off of griddle when nice and warm and stack them on a plate.

Step 8

Then you eat them!!!!!  [“Mom,” she says, peering over my shoulder as I take dictation on the last step, “You need more exclamation points on that.”  This whole teaching her to read thing means I now have another critic.]

Apparently she paid attention.  Who knew?

The birthday party:

Tortilla making has become such a common occurrence over the last two months that when it came time to plan the traditional fancy birthday tea party The Child had been wanting, she opted last minute for an evening taco night instead.  She wanted to teach her friends how to make them, and then have Taco Night together.  No argument from me!

And she was right, it was fabulous.  On a weeknight after school, four friends (ages four through eight) were dropped off and stationed at the kitchen counter.  The Spouse made the dough and The Child showed all of them how to portion and roll them ready for flattening.

Of course we thought this was the perfect excuse to upgrade our flour and invest in a tortilla press.   Big mistake on both counts.  We thought we were getting fancy getting some Bob’s Red Mill Masa Harina.  It is entirely possible we screwed up the recipe given the chaos, but it didn’t seem as fine a grind as the mass-produced Maseco, and it was hard to get the tortillas thin enough.  They had a much less delicate and more grainy texture.

With all the kids, we knew rolling each one by hand would be impractical.  I investigated tortilla presses online before buying one.  It was not a big investment, but it seemed some were made of cheaper metal than others.  There were many complaints on Amazon of supposed “cast iron” presses arriving already broken inside their original packaging.  There did not appear to be a clear winner, so we shelled out a few extra bucks and went to the local Sur La Table store to pay the $20 premium for their product testing.  Or so we thought…

Broken tortilla press from Sur La Table

That sucker broke just a few tortillas into the party, and it is definitely not cast iron.  Thankfully another parent stepped in to help man the griddle while The Spouse rolled them all out by hand.  All the kids had fun helping to make them, and even the picky kids sprinkled their ingredients of choice and enjoyed a taco before gorging on cake.  It was a memorable and unique afternoon.

The frequency of tortillas has relaxed into a comfortable pace in our repertoire.  We have yet to make a sufficient batch to stock the fridge for my typical weekly quesadilla needs, and I have no idea yet how well or long they keep.  We have not yet tracked down a replacement press from the local Mexican market either.  I look forward to the day we fry some of these for proper chips.  So many experiments on the tortilla horizon!

We have subsequently stopped stocking our fridge with store-bought ones.  Now practiced, it takes 15 minutes from the time The Spouse and The Child decide they are going to make them to sitting down to dinner, and they are so much tastier than even the best store-bought flour ones.  So I imagine the plethora of tortillas will continue for further experiments.  If you try it with your kids or find the perfect tortilla press, we would love to hear about it!

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